Since the discovery of transparent polycrystalline alumina by Coble in 1962, transparent and translucent alumina and yttria based ceramics have achieved a significant presence in our everyday lives because of their utility in sodium (and metal halide) vapor lamp envelopes used for example in street lights (automotive lighting). More recently, transparent ceramic scintillators have replaced photographic film in most medical X-ray imaging equipment. Although known for 30 years, transparent ceramic lasers have only recently been shown to offer power outputs superior to single crystal lasers.
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